The Historic House Trust is so much more than a collection of houses. Our sites are beacons of their communities and portals into history. They remind us of the momentous events that shaped New York City and the passionate people who have fueled its legendary energy, from the Lenape tribes who settled the shores to you reading this letter today. I love that HHT's 23 houses challenge us to find new and engaging ways to speak about this shared history, the changing city, the conflicts we have weathered, and the issues we struggle with today. Your donation ensures that these sites are preserved and continue to serve their communities.
In September I had the honor of being elected chair of HHT. I have been on the Board of Directors for 15 years—nearly half of the organization's existence—but I clearly remember the thrill of visiting each house for the first time. Years later, I am still struck by the delightful oddity of their survival in such a fast-paced city and the remarkable stories each site uncovers, interprets, and then tells again with fresh perspective. Staten Island's Conference House reminds us that our country began as an uncertain experiment birthed from a brave revolution. In the same borough, the Alice Austen House powerfully presents the life of a photographer who rebelled against Victorian restraints to create her own independent life alongside her same-sex partner. Latimer House in Queens shows how a son of runaway slaves overcame a lack of formal education to work with some of history's greatest inventors. And Old Stone House taught me that Gowanus became a thriving industrial center only through waves of immigration.
Join me in supporting HHT this year so these stories will continue to inspire and motivate. By preserving these buildings you are safeguarding the 366 years of living history they represent. In the past year, our devoted supporters have helped HHT build a capable conservation and curatorial team to tackle this work. Beyond preservation, our ongoing challenge is ensuring that we present our stories in compelling ways that connect with a new generation of New Yorkers. As HHT approaches its 30th anniversary in 2019, we are embarking upon a bold new vision for doing just that.
For the past 30 years HHT has made great investments in protecting and promoting these houses. We need your financial support to continue doing so. Please consider a year-end gift to help accomplish our mission in the coming year. You can help give our diverse stories a megaphone so they will continue to delight you and the hundreds of thousands of visitors to New York City's historic houses.
Lisa Ackerman, Chair